I was having a good old clear out at the weekend and came across some old diaries that had some notes on trips that I had made into the Peak District. This is about one of my many trips to Kinder Scout.
23rd April 2006
As far as I am aware the highest point in the Peak District is the broad plateau that is Kinder Scout. The top is reached after a short and on this occasion not particularly challenging climb. After walking along a flag-stoned path across the moor for about thirty minutes you reach a totally different world. Although still accessible the trail disappears into the gorse and peat and quickly becomes non-existent.
The plateau itself, whilst beautiful in its own way, is no place for the inexperienced. Once away from the edge on to the plateau you cannot see any landmarks (apart from the odd boulder clusters) to find your way, so a compass, map and knowledge of how to use them are essential. This is made harder as the rivers & streams on the plateau carve deep trenches into the bogs that mean walking up & down out of the stream beds & over the peat hillocks, rising & falling some 10 to 15 feet. In winter it can be a frozen featureless, arctic like place. In summer even the bogs don’t dry out and the landscape can look like something out of a science fiction movie.
If you are brave enough to be on Kinder Scout at dusk then you will have a surreal experience. It’s a bizarre, alien world-like landscape after you leave the path. The stark rocks of the trail up and at the edge of the mountain give way to desolate hillocks of black peat, the little valleys in between punctuated with boulders that appear to have been dropped from the sky and filled with almost empty riverbeds that look like they could be occupied by a raging torrent at any moment.
Many people come to Kinder Scout and if you are well prepared for the best and worst the weather can throw at you, you will enjoy all there is. The fog and mist can descend rapidly, even on nice days so always ensure you know where you are.
It is very easy to get lost. If it hadn’t been for the GPS, we might have found ourselves
spending the night up there, which would not have been a welcome prospect and I certainly didn’t want the humiliation of calling out the mountain rescue. So, leaving the science-fiction landscape of the black mounds and incongruous boulders behind, it was best foot forward. Keeping track of where you were going is a difficult matter. To get our bearings right, we fixed our eyes on a landmark in the distance and constantly used it as our goal. The steep and torturous route down we eventually found was beside a waterfall: challenging enough in the half-light, but in the rain that started soon after, it would have been lethal.
It feels like it was only yesterday!Follow @pdview